ORLANDO – At the back of the stage was the massive banner that ran right up to the ceiling, proudly proclaiming to the jam-packed audience inside the Beachem Theatre exactly what they were getting, and what they had paid for.
“The AP Tour Fall 2011” was blazoned across the top of the banner, and below it, “Four-year strong.”
As the crowd mingled at the bar, ordered a drink or crowded up in front of the stage, technicians set everything up for the bands. The first to perform was Sharks, the English punk band that’s been around since 2007. They spent several minutes tuning their guitars, and then assembly-line fashion, each band member yelled “Hey check check check” into their microphones. If one thing was clear, it’s that the band wanted to be sure they were going to be one and one thing only: loud.
“This sounds promising,” one man in the audience noted to a friend.
And then the Sharks gave a thumbs up to the audience, and launched the start of the Alternative Press Tour Fall 2011 concert, bringing together not just Sharks but the Swellers, Title Fight, and Gallows.
The walls of the theater in downtown Orlando literally trembled as Sharks started performing, although the energy in the room was undeniable as the crowd moved closer to the stage, almost as if they wanted the performance to be as loud as possible.
In the front hallway, staff members from Alternative Press had set up a table, offering free posters from the tour and copies of their magazine – as well as the opportunity to sign up for a free one year’s subscription. As the staff members were quick to point out to anyone who stopped to ask, those subscriptions are free – totally free.
“Get a free one-year subscription to AP for you (or a friend) with the purchase of a ticket,” the magazine noted.
The AP Tour continues through the end of this month. It started on Oct. 13 at the Crocodile Rock Café in Allentown, Penn., and moved from East Coast cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore to the Midwest, with stops in Milwaukee, Chicago, Kansas City, Denver and Boise, before hitting the West Coast in Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego.
From there, the tour moved south into Arizona and Texas. The tour was in Dallas on Saturday at the House of Blues, then Houston on Sunday at Warehouse Live, before coming to Orlando and the Beacham.
It remains in Florida tonight (the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale) and Thursday (the State Theatre in St. Petersburg) before moving on to venues in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, then heading back into the Northeast. The final stop is the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov. 26.
As a rock music genre, punk is often dated to the mid-1970s, and rooted in garage rock. Music historians believe Punk bands were rebelling against mainstream 1970s rock, by creating fast, hard-edged, often short songs with stripped down instrumentation. Bands like the Ramones in the United States and the Sex Pistols and the Clash in England were considered the early pioneers of this still-thriving movement. In another twist, the lyrics were often political, anti-establishment, and highly anti-authoritarian.
By the year 2000, pop-punk had become more mainstream, exemplified by such popular bands as Green Day and the Offspring.
The turnout at The Beachem on Tuesday said it all: punk, it would appear, is here to stay.
To learn more about the AP Tour, log on to www.Altpress.com/TheAPTour.
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.